Camp is a fun place where your kid can learn a new skill, find a new passion, and make new friends! However, there’s no one-size-fits-all camp. To find the right one for your kid, consider these 6 things.

Know What You and Your Child Want

Before you choose a camp, you need to consult your child. After all, it’s them that will be attending camp!

Begin your conversation by asking your child to imagine what a great camp would look like to them. Are they being active and playing lots of sports with lots of other kids? Or are they enjoying camp time by being crafty in a smaller group? Also consider if they can handle being away from home, as that opens the possibility of enrolling them in sleepaway camps. The size, mix of activities, and other characteristics matter in matching your kid to the right camp.

As important as your child’s preferences are, don’t forget to consider what you want your child to gain from camp as well. Whether it’s making new friends, increasing STEM skills, or learning a new instrument, think about how the camp you choose can support that goal.

Consider Day-to-Day Logistics

For parents – especially working moms and dads – camp logistics can throw a wrench into your routine. It’s important to think about the location, pick-up and drop-off, and how a camp can fit into your day-to-day schedule. Consider how long the camp will be and on what days as well. Also, ask about whether a camp has flexibility for taking a family trip for holidays or vacations. Some camps will let you cancel a few days a week while others aren’t that flexible.

Keep Budget in Mind

To help narrow your list down further, stick to a budget. Figure out what you can afford and remove the camps with rates above that amount.

When looking at costs, don’t forget to include transportation, meals, special gear, etc. A lot of those little pieces can add up. When you’re looking at your budget, make sure it includes a look at the total all-in-costs.

Do Your Research

Once you have your preferences, schedule, and budget in mind, it’s time to do some research! You can gain a lot of information by just browsing a camp’s website. So spend some time browsing through various ones. Involving your child in this process is great to get their input and let them ask questions.

Some things you may want to pay special attention to while browsing websites are:

  • Facilities and activities
  • Camp policies and procedures
  • Safety protocols
  • Counselor-to-camper ratio
Check the Reputation

While you conduct your research, don’t forget to do a reputation check. If it’s available, look at the background of the staff to see what their experience is. Also, go ahead and look off their website for reviews from other parents. Google or Yelp are places to search for honest reviews. Another option, if you’re a part of a local parent Facebook group, is to ask if anyone has sent their kid to the camp you’re considering.

Don’t Forget to Ask Questions

During the process of finding the right camp, make sure you ask questions! If you’re not finding certain information and want more clarity, reach out to the camp director. They should be more than happy to answer the questions you have.

Need help thinking of questions? Here are some to steal:

  • What is a typical day like?
  • Are lunches and/or snacks provided?
  • What is the counselor-to-camper ratio/how many kids are in each group?
  • How are staff members chosen?
  • What is your refund policy and rule regarding transfer of weeks?
  • How do your handle homesickness or other adjustment issues?
  • How do you handle bullying?
  • How do you handle discipline?
  • What are your drop-off and pick-up policies?
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